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Science and the RajA Study of British India$
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Deepak Kumar

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780195687149

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195687149.001.0001

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Exploration and Encounter: The Early Phase

Exploration and Encounter: The Early Phase

(p.32) Chapter 2 Exploration and Encounter: The Early Phase
Science and the Raj

Deepak Kumar

Oxford University Press

The late eighteenth century was an exciting time for the colonizers, who wanted to gather the maximum possible information about India as well as its people and resources. A number of travelogues and tracts appeared, including those of John Capper, F. Buchanan, Hugh Murray, G. R. Wallace, M. Martin, R. Heber, J.M. Honigberger, and M. Jacquemont. These writers faithfully reported not only what was best in India's natural resources and technological traditions, but also what could be the most advantageous to their employers. This chapter examines how colonial science began in India, and how it gradually matured with the help of surveys, educational bodies, scientific societies, and interlocutors (both indigenous and foreign). The Scots and the Danes formed a substantial body of the early botanists and zoologists, followed by a second group of ‘scientists’ that included the early meteorologists, geologists, and astronomers. The surveyors were the forerunners of scientific exploration.

Keywords:   colonial science, India, surveys, scientists, surveyors, scientific exploration, interlocutors

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